Study: Distracted driving endangers children in school zones

A new study discovered that many drivers use their cellphones while driving through school zones.

When parents in West Virginia send their children off to school, they want them to be as safe as possible, especially while they are walking, biking or taking the bus to their school's location. Although school zones should be safe for children, a new study shows that distracted driving is extremely prevalent in these areas.

The risk of distraction

According to this study, which was conducted by Zendrive, approximately 88 percent of drivers use their cellphones while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Of these drivers, an estimated one in three engage in unsafe behaviors, like using their cellphone, while driving through a school zone.

This study analyzed nearly 4 million drivers who drive near 75,000 schools throughout the country. Not only did it discover that many drivers use their phones near school zones, but it also found that in the afternoon, or specifically between the hours of 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., drivers were more likely to be on their phones because of work time demands.

Distraction is not limited to texting

While drivers may automatically assume that distracted driving is only limited to using a cellphone behind the wheel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines distracted driving as any activity that takes a driver's full attention away from the road in front of him or her. This means that drivers can endanger the lives of others while going through a school zone if they:

  • Perform personal grooming activities, like shaving or putting on makeup
  • Attempt to eat or drink
  • Fiddle with the radio or a GPS device
  • Focus on a conversation they are having with a passenger
  • Look for something on the back seat or passenger seat

Any distracted driving activity can also be put into one of three categories, which include manual distraction, visual distraction and cognitive distraction. Drivers who are manually distracted remove their hands from the steering wheel, drivers who are visually distracted take their eyes off of the road and drivers who stop focusing on driving are cognitively distracted. Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous distracted driving activities because it combines manual, visual and cognitive distraction.

Contact an attorney

Many collisions related to distraction occur in school zones, on freeways and many other driving locations throughout West Virginia and the country every day. Those injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver should contact an attorney in their area for assistance and guidance asserting their legal rights.